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Did Chicago Lose Olympic Bid Due To US Passport Control? 1040

Posted by Soulskill
from the otherwise-the-terrists-win dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Yesterday, Chicago lost its bid for the 2016 Olympics (which went to Rio de Janeiro instead), and it's looking very likely that US border procedures were one of the main factors which knocked Chicago out of the race: 'Among the toughest questions posed to the Chicago bid team this week in Copenhagen was one that raised the issue of what kind of welcome foreigners would get from airport officials when they arrived in this country to attend the Games. Syed Shahid Ali, an I.O.C. member from Pakistan, in the question-and-answer session following Chicago's official presentation, pointed out that entering the United States can be "a rather harrowing experience." ... The exchange underscores what tourism officials here have been saying for years about the sometimes rigorous entry process for foreigners, which they see as a deterrent to tourism.'"
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Did Chicago Lose Olympic Bid Due To US Passport Control?

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  • by jcr (53032) <jcr@nOspAm.mac.com> on Saturday October 03, 2009 @09:19AM (#29626103) Journal

    Everyone I know who visits the USA these days tells me what a pain in the ass it is to travel here now. I'm sure everyone on the IOC knows all about that.

    -jcr

  • by Ovspec (1649189) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @09:39AM (#29626269)
    Travelling through the US (spending a night there) is one of the worst things that can happen to you. I now avoid it at all costs, even if the other alternative is alot more expensive, hell its even worse that going through Venezuela. You don't need to make people jump through hundreds unnecessary hoops, treat them like some kind parasite/criminal you don't want anywhere near your country and employ the stupidest, most incompetent, pettiest little assholes to handle them in order to protect your country from the big bad terrorism. If a terrorist wants in, its not going to be hard, airports that treat people like scum are just further isolating your country from the rest of the world.
  • by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @09:43AM (#29626293) Homepage Journal

    Just so you know, people at American airports don't treat *Americans* very well either.

  • by Guppy (12314) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @09:45AM (#29626303)

    "The most ridiculous interview I heard with my own ears:
      Interviewer: "What did you have this morning as breakfast?"
      Applicant: "Bread." I: "Nothing else?"
      Applicant: "No."
      Interviewer: "According to American law, we cannot grant you a visa."
      Applicant: "....".

    I was sitting beside the person when he was rejected. You know, it is funny to reject someone according American law just because he only had bread in the morning."

    From http://home.wangjianshuo.com/archives/20060519_getting_us_visa_in_china.htm [wangjianshuo.com]

  • by h4rm0ny (722443) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @09:47AM (#29626321) Journal

    And let me tell you, if people from the UK are telling you that your border-control is unwelcoming, then it must be! I also live in the UK. You can bounce around Europe crossing borders with little more than a wave of your passport and a friendly nod. Then when you come back to the UK, it's a bit of a shock. Most of the EU find Britain rather silly with how worked up about its borders it gets, given that the rest of it manages with less pomp *and* has direct land passage to outside countries. I've also heard some strong complaints from people I know about entering the US. Aren't they asking for retinal scans or fingerprints in some places, now?
  • by badger.foo (447981) <peter@bsdly.net> on Saturday October 03, 2009 @10:05AM (#29626489) Homepage
    Even without any sort of criminal record it's not a pleasant experience to enter the US, even as a Norwegian citizen entering via Canada. This May the robots routed me back form BSDCan [bsdcan.org] (in Ottawa) through Washington, DC. It's possible that the fact that I did not apply for a visa (this was transit only, planning to stay on the ground roughly one hour between flights) complicated things a bit. As it turned out, in addition to the ordinary three forms (with more or less the same info in all of them) I needed to fill in a separate 'visa waiver form' (identical to at least two of the other forms in all other things than paper thickness, sheet size, color of paper and print and font) before getting to the fingerprinting, retina scanning and oral examination to check the validity of the information that I'd filled in, performed by a border guard who seemed to have been trained to appear hostile but was obviously monumentally bored by the whole process. This was after clearing the ordinary pre-boarding security theatre, mind you. And of course I would need to pick up the boarding passes for my connecting flights at the Washington, DC airport. That meant getting from one end of the airport to the other to pick up boarding passes and clearing another full act of security theatre in order to get back to where I could board the transatlantic flight. I did make my connecting fligh, running pretty much all the way except for the time spent lining up for the various security checks on the way. So yes, I can believe in a theory that US border control was a factor in deciding to place the next Olympics elsewhere.
  • by NoYob (1630681) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @10:12AM (#29626565)
    Unlike China, Brazil actually has a thriving world class aeronautical industry [embraer.com]. I see in the business press how the Boeing and Airbus needs to watch out for the Chinese and I think , "Chinese?! The Brazilians are well on their way."

    Although Brazil has quite a few social problems, they're well on their way to getting their shit to together and I'm thinking in the not too distant future, they'll be a very large power house in the World Economy. I may start taking Portuguese!

  • by JamesP (688957) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @10:14AM (#29626579)

    No, they just make you go through the exact same thing a Brazilian citizen goes while going to your contry.

    If you're from a Schengen country, come on in. If you're from the US, you need a visa, you need to have your fingerprints taken, etc, etc

    Reciprocity's a bitch, isn't it.

  • by E IS mC(Square) (721736) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @10:14AM (#29626587) Journal
    If we take facts into account, I think you are wrong. (Hint - spain)

    And in no way I am in favor if killing a single human, but I think whatever happened was reciprocation (right or wrong, I am not in favor of any) of certain foreign policies of certain western nations. Nobody is innocent here.
  • Re:Puhleez... (Score:3, Informative)

    by jonbryce (703250) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @10:16AM (#29626611) Homepage

    As a matter of fact, yes I do.

    I struggle think of countries where I would expect a worse welcome than the USA. Maybe Zimbabwe as Mugabee blames the British for all the problems it is facing at the moment.

  • They are concerned about what US Customs would do to foreigners, they should look at what they do to citizens. I was born and raised in the states, and still live in a state near a border. I recently crossed back into the states (by car) after 5 days in a neighboring country. I pulled up to customs and had to turn off my car and hand my keys to a leather-gloved customs officer so he could search my trunk, while I stayed in my car. I was not allowed to see what he was doing; he could have easily taken items from my trunk or placed items in my trunk without my knowing it. Eventually they cleared me but offered no explanation for what they were doing.

    I have had similar experiences in the past as well, I once had to pull from the customs booth to the "additional screening" building (single car garage with doors on both ends) where I had to empty my trunk for a customs agent.

    So I can't say I'm surprised if the security theater here was a deciding factor against having another Olympics here. Certainly our procedures have changed a fair bit since 1996.
  • by the_humeister (922869) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @10:32AM (#29626745)

    I just heard this on NPR this morning. You know what else the Brazilians are pledging? $14 Billion! What was Chicago going to pledge? $5 Billion to this event.

  • Re:Passport Control? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anne Onymous (745385) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @10:34AM (#29626775) Journal

    Chicago is known for being wet, cold, windy, and expensive.

    Actually, Chicago in the summer is know for being miserably, even deadly [uchicago.edu], hot.

  • by pjt33 (739471) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @10:36AM (#29626781)

    According to Wikipedia, ETA has killed "over 800 individuals" since 1968 and the IRA has killed "around 1,100 members of the British security forces, and around 630 civilians" since 1969. On that measure having the IRA is twice as bad as having ETA.

  • Re:Puhleez... (Score:4, Informative)

    by markov_chain (202465) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @10:42AM (#29626825) Homepage
    I had far less trouble getting a tourist visa for China than US. And their border control was far less invasive. The only unusual step was getting checked via remote IR thermometer, due to the swine flu epidemic.
  • by Jeeeb (1141117) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @10:49AM (#29626885)
    When I entered into Japan it was really extremely easy. I showed my visa and was then asked if I spoke Japanese. I said yes and was directed in Japanese to place my hands on the finger print scanner and look into the camera. The entire immigration process took about a minute and before I was cleared to go through. The only question I was asked is if I spoke Japanese. Which I presume had to do with working out whether to direct me in English or Japanese.

    Of course as an anti-terror policy it is somewhat silly. The only terrorist attacks I know of in Japan have been committed by Japanese. About the only outside group that might consider a terror attack on Japan is North Korea and being a tall white guy, I don't exactly look North Korean... But I guess applying it fairly beats racial profiling.

    On the other hand, crime by Chinese residents is a big and growing problem in Japan. So I can understand them wanting to clamp down on immigration procedures and so on. It's just a matter of executing it in a fair, professional and efficient way which from what I've seen they're doing.
  • by hamburger lady (218108) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @11:10AM (#29627053)

    Obama just wanted it there because he lived there once

    "lived there once"? what the hell does that mean? outside of 4 years at harvard he lived in chicago from 1985 until he became president.

  • by FonzCam (841867) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @11:18AM (#29627139)
    US immigration and security go beyond being serious to the point that they come across as rude and unhelpful. UK airport security have pulled me aside for a random search whilst joking that it was due to the sports team jersey I was wearing. On a quiet day arriving in amsterdam I've had a guy call over his supervisor just so they could make make stern faces make me worry and then crack a joke about my passport photo. I've chatted with Polish boarder guards about their visits to my home country and had a French immigration officer laugh at my appalling French. Entering the US I've see people infuriated by officers who will tell them only that they have filled in the wrong green form, or filled the right one incorrectly but will offer no more help to non-english speaking visitors then to send them back to the back of the line. I've waited hours whilst people attempt to have their fingerprints scanned whilst having orders barked at them because they misunderstood the instructions. Most immigration officers I've encountered try to ask questions in a friendly conversational style but in the US it's a cross between an interrogation and a telemarketing script. After a few visits you learn the keywords for your answers and they let you through no problem!
  • by MaskedSlacker (911878) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @11:19AM (#29627151)

    http://www.areaconnect.com/crime/compare.htm?c1=Chicago&s1=IL&c2=Los+Angeles&s2=CA [areaconnect.com]

    Kiss my Angeleno ass. Los Angeles has lower rates of murder, robbery, assault, theft, and burglary.

    When Los Angeles, gang ridden shit hole that is, has a not just a lower crime rate, but fewer actual crimes despite its larger population, than your city, you need to shut up.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 03, 2009 @11:24AM (#29627201)

    There are no requirements for fingerprints or retinal scans in the US, at least not from canadians.
      As a Canadian, I have to admit that border requirements have definitely been tightened up to the point of ridiculous long wait times at entry points, but it still just consists of waving a passport and answering some grade school bullies questions about your travel plans.
    The biggest downside to the strengthening of the US borders is that the CDN gov't has seen fit to up their q&a at entry points as well. Major PITA

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @11:37AM (#29627301) Homepage

    Every entry point takes fingerprints of every visitor who is not a US Citizen or legal US Resident.

    Incorreect. there are at least 20 entry points at the northern border that are unmanned and simply have a phone there asking you tell them you are crossing the border.

    If you fly into Canada and then drive to the USA, you can bypass all that crap, hell you can easily enter and leave without anyone knowing you were here in a few places.

    Our security is a complete and utter dog and pony show that is 100% worthless in stopping the Evil-guys.

  • by Ilgaz (86384) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @11:42AM (#29627355) Homepage

    You know what? If you are lucky to come from certain "non aryan" place and do couple of things very wrong, that "pain in the ass" could become literal.

    I have no clue why people travel to USA from certain areas, it is like visiting Germany as a Jew in 1939. Goodwin or not, it is the truth for some. If people with thousands of dollars in their pockets and way better education/personality than that customs nazi guy keeps taking all that treatment, it will never, ever fix.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 03, 2009 @11:47AM (#29627395)

    The 'Real IRA', as they call themselves, are still killing people and making bombing attempts.

  • by Haffner (1349071) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @12:07PM (#29627575)
    As someone who lives blocks from where the new Olympic Village would be held, I can assure you that it really isnt a safe place (right now). Too bad we didnt win the bid, as it would have really helped to clean up the area. Washington Park, the intended site, IIRC had multiple shootings over the summer. The Olympics would be hosted in a pretty bad part of town - Some of the worst neighborhoods in the city are literally right down the street.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 03, 2009 @12:08PM (#29627581)

    I'm fairly certain you can get a quick answer at the US embassy in Oslo just by calling them.

    Nice idea, but no.

    There is no circumstance in which a US embassy can tell you for sure that you will be allowed into the USA.

    The guy at the border can always turn you away. Even if you've done nothing wrong. Even if you have a valid visa. Even if you're the fucking Pope. If the guy at the border doesn't want to let you in, you don't come in.

  • by thewils (463314) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @12:21PM (#29627683) Journal

    I visited Japan during the initial H1N1 scare and even then it was a fairly pleasant experience. I was concerned about missing our connecting flight from Tokyo to Osaka but we were processed and had our luggage within 20 minutes of disembarking and checked in 10 minutes later. We even managed to get a plastic bottle of water air-side. It was taken from us, put through a sniffer machine and very politely handed back.

    I wasn't looking forward to the new passport/fingerprint restrictions, but they were all done in a typically low-key Japanese way and I didn't have a problem with any of it.

  • by Dr. Evil (3501) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @12:24PM (#29627711)

    It was a security policy. The implication was that by reducing the volume of carry-on, they could examine carry-on luggage more closely. The U.K. has been diddling with this policy on a daily basis, it's hard to know what the rules are on any given day.

    Last I checked it was one bag, and nail scissors were approved the day after thye were taken away from me.

    Can I take a handbag and a piece of hand luggage? Yes, but not yet at Stansted Airport, where the airlines continue to implement the 'one carry-on bag rule'. At Stansted, your handbag does count as the single item of hand baggage, unless you put it in your cabin bag.

    link [gatwickairport.com]

    It's lunacy. Normally I just throw up my arms and let them do what they like to my luggage.

    So Gatwick is okay now. Stansted is still broken.. at least according to gatwickairport.com, which well, probably isn't updated frequently on Stansted policies.

  • Re:Actually... (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 03, 2009 @12:31PM (#29627757)

    It might not be listed in the report but Montreal just finished paying off their 1976 Olympic Games in 2005.

  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @12:56PM (#29627951) Journal

    There, didn't think about that did you? Care about your enviroment, shoot crack.

  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @12:57PM (#29627959) Journal

    There are no requirements for fingerprints or retinal scans in the US, at least not from canadians.

    There are, they just aren't enforced against Canadian citizens and permanent residents . However, citizens of others countries residing in Canada will be forced through a fingerprint scan if they try to cross that border (I know from personal experience, I did that twice myself, and I know quite a few people on work visas in Canada who also cross relatively frequently).

    However, they still can require any Canadian citizen to go through a scan if they deem you suspicious or something. That said, since you're still on Canadian soil before they let you through, you can refuse the scan and walk away undisturbed (under Canadian privacy laws), and they cannot detain you for investigation - only prevent you from crossing the border.

  • by jcr (53032) <jcr@nOspAm.mac.com> on Saturday October 03, 2009 @01:06PM (#29628025) Journal

    19 people managed to sneak box cutters onto airplanes

    No, it was permitted at the time to carry a box cutter onto an airplane. Nobody had ever attempted a hijacking with a knife before that.

    -jcr

  • by DaHat (247651) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @01:06PM (#29628029) Homepage

    What I think is astounding is the pure gall of the conservatives, blaming president Obama for not getting the Olympics when it was their crap ass policies and politics that put in place the anal probe, 3rd world border treatment afforded our guests these days. Like we're going to forget who was behind it all. But that's been the pattern right along. Absolving themselves from any accountability by trying to pin it on someone else. Pathetic.

    Actually the pathetic thing is you doing just what you are accusing conservatives of doing... blaming someone else.

    Were US entry policies to blame... perhaps. Has President Obama done anything to make things easier? Not really.

    The President does get a fair bit of blame for spending something on the order of $1.2 million dollars for the quick day trip involving several planes (why can't he and the wife carpool anyway?), obviously contributing to global warming along the way while spending millions of US tax payer dollars for transportation and security (in the middle of a recession when unemployment continues to rise) and trying to leverage his much touted international appeal... all to an embarrassing end.

    Had the President been as experienced as some like to think he would know that one does not lend his stature to negotiation of this type, instead only appearing when the deal was done and lending his stature to the final successful closing of it... because anything else is a waste of his time and credibility.

    Face it... the President failed at something he decided to inject himself into. Do other parties and other reasons share some blame? Perhaps. However that does not change the fact that the President of the United States decided to inject himself into yet another issue that he had no direct responsibility to (as his is pattern), and once again failed miserably to deliver.

    Say... how's that Gitmo closing thing going? Or the economy? Iran? Jobs? I'm sorry friend, but the past 9.5 months have not exactly been a bunch of wins for this new administration... and the sooner you realize the actual cause of many of these things, the easier you will sleep at night because HopeNChange... have failed.

  • by conureman (748753) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @01:06PM (#29628031)

    We may not be as state-of-the-art as Japan, but I just bought one with a 3" flush valve. WHOOSH!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 03, 2009 @01:06PM (#29628033)

    This government efficiency is why we aren't exactly thrilled with the idea of government health care...

  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @01:16PM (#29628109) Journal

    I will be driving across America this coming spring (I-90, I-5, I-10, and I-95).

    This is actually the third time I've done this. If any UK citizens or other Europeans would care to join me, I'll show you the *real* United States. No not New York City and its claustrophobia-inducing skyscrapers (yuck). The real United States is a giant expanse of mostly grass with lots of cows, and just a few oasses of civilization (cities) dotting the landscape.

  • by codegen (103601) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @01:17PM (#29628115) Journal
    It is not just the olympics. International scientific conferences are tending to shy away from the US as well. I'm involved in the organization of three computer science conferences that traditionally alternate between North America and Europe. The North American Slots are ending up in Canada because it is to much of a hassle for the European participants to enter the US. I was at one conference in the US several years ago, and several of us were in the security lineup to leave the country, and one of my colleagues remarked to me, that "it just isn't worth the hassle anymore". Throw in the drama that happens if you happen to take a picture in public (omg a picture of a library [620wtmj.com] or a hotel [onemansblog.com]), and you have to wonder why anyone would visit the USA.
  • by couchslug (175151) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @01:31PM (#29628233)

    Chicago is famously corrupt, and since I have no interest in visiting it as an American (having seen enough of urban blight and the people who live in it) I can see why the Olympics are being hosted elsewhere. Rio is exotic, Chicago is not. Rio can clear whatever area is needed for the Olympics, while US law exists to obstruct. Labor costs will be lower in Rio. End of story.

  • by ImdatS (958642) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @01:42PM (#29628329) Homepage
    Actually, throughout Schengen countries (this is around 23 in Europe), you don't need any ID to travel except for airline travel where they check your name on your boarding pass against your name on a photo ID (but this could also be just a drivers license, or any other official looking photo ID) - and this check is done by airline personnel only.

    When you travel by car, feet, train or ship throughout Schengen countries, you will notice the border crossing only by change of street signs, language or car plates - or by the ratio of beer:wine, good cuisine:bad cuisine, and so on.
  • by maxume (22995) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @01:46PM (#29628365)

    There won't be an oil shortage any time soon, but if there is a shortage, the problem will be more severe than you think, tractors are currently machines that turn diesel into food, with no oil, getting food to market won't be the problem, growing it at all will be the problem.

  • by dimension6 (558538) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @01:50PM (#29628391)
    Really? I've been living in Japan for two years now (I'm a US citizen), and I absolutely dread going back to the States. Arriving in the US feels like a madhouse by comparison. As a Japanese multiple-exit visa holder (most long-term residents have this), I have a separate line at immigration that usually has no line. There is the fingerprinting and photo (which was a point of contention with the American Chamber of Commerce, I remember), but I've never been asked any background questions on any of my 10+ entries into the country. The entire process takes no more than 5 minutes as opposed to the hour-plus ordeal that I face at any US international entry point. You don't have to remove your shoes, and at least for domestic flights, it's no problem to bring a bottle of liquid (tea, etc.) right through security).
  • by HangingChad (677530) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @01:54PM (#29628419) Homepage

    Were US entry policies to blame... perhaps. Has President Obama done anything to make things easier? Not really.

    He's had 9 months, inheriting a cratering economy, failing banking sector, automotive sector and a health care crisis. I think he's done damn job with what he was given to work with. You don't change direction in a bureaucracy like DHS overnight. Besides, as soon as he starts looking at it or proposing changes, you'll be screaming about how Obama is leaving the country open to attack.

    Pathetic AND predictable. Maybe you noticed it was people from outside the US raising this issue? No? That's not surprising.

    Nothing but criticism and negativity. I'm sick of it, sick of you. This country would be farther ahead if we carved off a section and let you have your own space. I'd be all for that. You already have a propaganda cable channel and chain of newspapers you can take with you. Vile, disgusting, angry, small-minded, pathetic people. It sucks to have to call you countrymen.

  • by HonIsCool (720634) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @02:19PM (#29628607)
    Yeah, same experience here. I visited Japan first time before the new fingerprint checks were put in, and it was supremely simple procedure to enter. The customs staff were very polite (of course) and friendly, and just waved me through. I was actually worried because I had brought a big perfume bottle which I realized on the plane to be over the allowed duty-free size, but no problem! I don't consider having to give an address of residence for the stay to be harrassment either. This is given on a disembarkment card and not in a interrogation by officials by the way. I do hate the new fingerprinting checks, no doubt about that, but the procedure itself is very smoothly implemented and going through takes about no time.
  • by jotaeleemeese (303437) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @02:21PM (#29628623) Homepage Journal

    The Olympic games in London will take place mostly in East London, an area famous for its gangsters and low lifes of all kinds.

    The idea is that by hosting the games in that area they will be an incentive to regenerate it, creating new jobs and businesses and replacing ugly industrial areas with liveable areas and sporting facilities.

    This has worked, with varied degrees of success in other venues, for example the are around the Olympic Stadium in Barcelona is now a tourist attraction, before the Olympics it was a very ugly neighbourhood that you wanted to avoid by all means.

  • by plsavaria (823160) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @03:29PM (#29629199)
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but at least when entering the US by car, you're already on american soil when talking to the border patrol. On a ski trip to Jay Peak, two stupid heas brought marijuana with them. But was searched, border patrol found it. All three were then detained for investigation.
  • by mikael (484) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @03:30PM (#29629225)

    Stansted and Edinburgh airport do that as well (perhaps all airports). You go into the airport, check in your hold luggage and keep your laptop with you using a laptop bag. No problem. Go shopping, buy a newspaper, a Wired magazine and some shortbread biscuits for gifts. Still no problem. Put these items into a plastic bag. Now, we have a problem. You now have *TWO* bags.

    Normally, security would just put these into separate plastic trays and scan them separately. Now, the airline companies like Virgin and Easyjey employ some smart-asses (usually in yellow or orange T-shirts) to *ENSURE* that *EVERYONE* puts everything into the largest bag before being allowed through to
    security, so that everyone is carrying only one bag. What do the security people do? Require that everything is taken out of the bag and scanned separately.

  • by Frostalicious (657235) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @03:32PM (#29629241) Journal

    In the crossing points I've been through, you are on US soil when questioned by US guards. So if they don't like something you can be detained.

    I find it somewhat strange that US guards could operate on Canadian soil.

  • by raju1kabir (251972) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @06:27PM (#29630781) Homepage

    As far as I can remember, the same roughly applies to the rest of western Europe.

    Border formalities have been dismantled for almost all of continental western Europe (excepting Gibraltar, where you still have to show your passport, and Switzerland, where they almost always wave you through and are often out to "lunch"). The German-Danish border you visited many years ago is now just a signpost, with nobody to even wave your passport at.

  • by Teancum (67324) <robert_horning@n ... ro.net minus bsd> on Saturday October 03, 2009 @06:50PM (#29630937) Homepage Journal

    I guess I happen to live in one of those shitholes you are complaining about.

    Please, get a life. Get out and smell some fresh (and not so fresh due to cattle and other farm animals) air!

    More importantly, get out to where the only other human within 20 miles are any companions you brought with you.

    I've been to 3rd world countries and even lived in them, and you don't have a stinking clue as to what exists within this country if you think your twisted vision of the USA outside of the metro areas is anything like what you are talking about.

  • by LynnwoodRooster (966895) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @07:21PM (#29631131) Journal
    I am a natural born US citizen who lives half-time in Shanghai, China. I travel every month one way (one month US, one month China). As a US citizen - with a multiple-entry, one year Chinese visa (for which I write a letter inviting myself to go to China), I have considerably LESS issues entering China as opposed to the US. My visa takes approximately 1 week to get, including delivery to and from the processing center. And on entering China immigration is quick, efficient, simple; I wish I could say the same about the US.

    .
    Coming into China at 5:45 AM or 11 PM, I have never had to wait for immigration officers to get to their stations; officers are ready any time passengers are arriving. Contrast that to the last time I entered the US - September 14th, 2009 at LAX on NWA flight 002. The entire plane - a full 747-400 with 403 passengers - had to wait for 40 minutes until 9 AM, when immigration officers finally started their shift. And we then queued into line while the officers strolled out one at a time, took 5-10 minutes to get their station ready, then started processing.

    China worse than US? Not by a mile. The US simply sucks in terms of immigration, even for US citizens. But as a US citizen, I've come to expect nothing less of any Federal employee or department; we citizens exist to serve and support them, not the other way around!

  • by maillemaker (924053) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @09:29PM (#29631753)

    >I mean, which law I might have breaking for taking three months off work?

    In the United States, the concept of taking three months off of work is inconceivable. The idea of taking a full two weeks off is borderline lunacy. The idea of taking a whole week off is borderline fantasy.

  • by theolein (316044) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @09:39PM (#29631805) Journal

    Switzerland joined the European Schengen Agreement a few years ago, which means no more direct border controls. This applies to most of the EU with the exception of the UK and a couple of other places.

  • by cdrnet (1582149) on Sunday October 04, 2009 @03:52AM (#29633353)
    Don't worry, it's only Americans who have such weird issues with nudity. No problem airing it in the rest of the world...
  • by 3247 (161794) on Sunday October 04, 2009 @04:18AM (#29633427) Homepage

    Switherland became part of the Schengen Area on 2008-12-12, which is not exactly âoea few years agoâ. It's less than one year. However, not being a member of the European Union or the European Economic Area, Switzerland is still supposed to check for goods that have to be declared.

    The UK is a partial member of the Schengen Agreement.

  • Re:It is worth it (Score:3, Informative)

    by Macgrrl (762836) on Monday October 05, 2009 @12:59AM (#29640957)

    If I wanted to pay to be insulted, demeaned, and harassed I'd want it done by a professional - preferably in full leather.

    If you're in Australia, I can get you a number on that. Though most of the Dommes I know prefer Latex.

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